Punishment 2 - Deterrence Theory Utilitarianism the right...

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Deterrence Theory Utilitarianism: the right policy = that which maximizes happiness, minimizes suffering Punishment inflicts suffering, so can be justified only if it prevents more suffering than it causes Punishment is justified if and only if it prevents crimes that produce more total suffering than the punishment itself Punishment does deter crime by giving people strong incentive, based on self-interest, not to commit crime
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Advantages of Deterrence Theory 1. Explains why ex post facto law unjustified laws must be publicized excuses accepted for children, insane, necessity, involuntary acts, mistakes here punishment would not deter, so is unjustified 2. Explains scope of criminal sanctions (unlike retributive theory) 3. Humanitarian: minimizes suffering—aims to deter with least severe punishment
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Paradoxes of Utilitarian Punishment Retributive theory sets benchmarks: 1. Only the guilty may be punished 2. Always just to punish the guilty 3. Proportionality: severity of punishment proportionate to evil of crime Utilitarian theory may violate benchmarks: 1. May allow punishment of innocent lynch innocent man to prevent riot 2. Undeterrable crimes should not be punished one-time crimes of passion, obsession
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3. Punishment not closely enough geared to
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This note was uploaded on 01/15/2012 for the course PHIL 359 taught by Professor Anderson during the Fall '09 term at University of Michigan.

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Punishment 2 - Deterrence Theory Utilitarianism the right...

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